Concrete Flooring - Material and Design Advantages
Concrete flooring strengths, finishes and facts
Concrete flooring is becoming a popular choice for homeowners and architects around the country. Why is this the case, you may ask?
* Is needs low maintenance and is easy to care for.
* Can be altered in a whim - either by acid staining, painting or by covering it with another material (wood, carpet etc)
* Is ideal for homes within regions in the United States that have snow and excessive sand.
* Is a symbol of strength and sturdiness.
* Can be incorporated with central heating to produce a radiant floor system - thus eliminating any misconceptions that people have about it being a "cold" material.
One of the best things about installing a concrete floor is the versatility you get with it. As previously stated it can be stained and painted, however, it can also accommodate a number of finishes. These finishes can mimic brick, tile, and stone which will give the room a more character, warmth and a very innate feeling. But "scoring" and "sawcutting" are two texture designs that have proven to be the most popular.
For those who prefer a smoother more glossed finish this is now possible with concrete flooring. Technological advancements now allow a floor to be ground so finely that a high sheen is attained that does not require waxing. The polishing effect is comparable to the sanding of a piece of wood - progressively finer and finer grinders are used. Ideally the surface will need to be level and crack free before any polishing can be done.
The Process Behind Concrete Floors
Concrete is the mixture of aggregates (mineral mix), cement and water. When the three come together the cement reacts with the water to form a mass that holds the aggregates together. The mixture starts to set after the first two hours, from then on it will start to harden and any attempt to re-work it will upset this phase.
The concrete floor will set faster the hotter the weather conditions are because the heat speeds up the reaction. It will only reach a functional strength three days after it has been laid and it will continue to grow in strength for the first month. What some people do not know is that concrete floors will reach their optimum strength if moisture is present while it hardens. Losing moisture too quickly will cause a loss of strength and a reduction in durability. This is why you often see people running a hose over any newly laid floors.